The lights are dimmed. The auditorium is full. The big screen is filled with bright colors. Then here it comes, the never-ending list of bullet points, which the presenter is reading to you one-by-one. And you? Your eyes are feeling heavy. Your head is dropping slowly, but then jolts up like a yo-yo! Oh, the guilt and shame we feel for falling asleep on what could have been an awesome presentation. We’ve all been there. Once you see the first array of bullets hit the screen, you sink into your seat and brace yourself for a brain-numbing ride. Or maybe this is sounding too familiar. Maybe YOU were the presenter! Queue the dark organ music! Storyboard artists need skills in storytelling and possibly a good background in acting.
But that doesn’t have to be you! Last year, a good friend recommended a book called “Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery” by Garr Reynolds. It’s an easy read and it absolutely revolutionized the way I think about presentations, and subsequently design presentations. An engaging presentation is truly an art that requires the right mix of slides with the right presenter. Here are six tips on presentation design that I learned from the book and have put into practice. If you think these tips are helpful, I encourage you to buy the book. It will go deeper into delivery techniques and in-depth design strategies complete with before and after slides. You can get it on Amazon for about $20.
Tip 1: One point, one slide
A single slide shouldn’t carry the weight of the world. You should be able to make your point in about 6 words and perhaps a strong visual. If the visual is strong enough, there is no need for words. And to prevent the scenario in paragraph one of this how-to, don’t write your narrative on the screen…that’s what you are for. Remember that people can’t read and listen at the same time so don’t create an environment that challenges them to do so. If you do need to have more text on a slide, use the 1-7-7 Rule:
Have only one main idea per slide.
Insert only seven lines of text maximum.
Use only seven words per line maximum.
Tip 2: Create a handout
Now that you are down to one point per slide, you are probably wondering how your audience is going to know all there is to know about your topic. Enter the handout. This handout will not be a 3-up or 6-up handout that is generated in PowerPoint. It is a narrative document that contains all of the key facts and figures that you discuss during your presentation. This will allow your audience to pay attention to you and not scramble to take notes that they probably won’t be able to read once they get back to their office.
Tip 3: Go big on imagery
Don’t be afraid to flood the entire page with a single image. It provides depth and visual interest. This will also force you to stick to one point per slide. And each slide doesn’t need to have the same header and footer on every page during a live presentation. This is a presentation after all, not a document. For those of you who are guilty of using PowerPoint Presentations as corporate documents, maybe the next how-to I write will be on designing electronic business documents. Hint: If you’re slide presentation has a lot of content that requires multiple paragraphs and several bullet points, you should probably use a word processor. This’ll ensure that your reader will understand the content, without the presenter being present.
Tip 4: Simplicity is king
The great Leonardo da Vinci said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Think of creative ways to display your charts to help clarify the point, but keep it simple. You don’t need background image fills with a 3-D pie chart fading into the horizon line. A simple flat pie chart can often do the trick. And don’t be afraid of “white space.” Just because you have a lot of space on your slide doesn’t mean that it all has to be used.
Tip 5: You are the main attraction
The center of attention should be the presenter. Be humorous and entertaining. The slides are meant to support what you are saying, and not the other way around. You are the star of the show! You know that you have a powerful and engaging presentation if you can hold your audiences’ attention without slides. If not, you may want to re-plan your presentation. Which leads me to the last tip.
Tip 6: Plan your presentation
People like stories and have learned from parables for centuries. People need to understand facts and figures in context of the larger story. Take some time to plan and prepare your story. Consider using a storyboard to help you lay out the visual idea and key message. I’ve created a simple storyboard for you to print out and write on.
There is much more to say about presentation design, but not enough time to say it in this how-to guide. If you have any questions or would like me to take a look at your presentation, don’t hesitate to send me an email at [email protected]
Buy the Book: “Presentation Zen” on Amazon
Shala W. Graham is the Principal and Creative Director of SW Creatives, LLC. Her strength of character and creative talent has always produced pleasing results, personally and professionally. She specializes in both graphic design and web design. For years, efficient and effective has been her work motto.
SW Creatives is a total solutions communications design firm that offers a broad range of web, print and branding solutions for start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Founded in 2005 on the Christian principles of integrity and honesty, the minority- and woman-owned firm is based in the Washington, DC area. Through smart strategy, original ideas and spirited collaboration, SW Creatives’ team of experts helps clients develop communications that click with customers. For additional information, visit http://www.swcreatives.com or call (301) 891-0111. Click here an be a part of our team.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Shala_Graham/289879
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2435638